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Corleone crime family

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This article is about the criminal organisation. You may be looking for the bloodline.
Corleone crime family
Vito Corleone
Don Vito Corleone.
In: New York City
Founded by: Vito Corleone
Years active: 1920-present
Territory: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Queens[1] in NYC. Other territories are Long Beach, Nevada, Miami and Sicily.
Ethnicity: Italian, Italian-American
Membership: 110-130 "Made men", around 1000 associates
Criminal activities: (labor) racketeering, conspiracy, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, bribery, extortion, contract killing, counterfeiting, fencing, hijacking, political corruption, loan sharking, money laundering, murder, fraud, prostitution
Allies: Barzini, Tattaglia, Cuneo, Stracci, Zaluchi, Molinari and Falcone crime families and Bocchicchio, Tommasino and Clemenza clans.
Rivals: various street gang in NYC, Roth syndicate, and sometimes its allies

The Corleone crime family is one of the Five Families operating in New York and in other parts of the United States. The family was formed by Vito Corleone, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio, who fronted their operations by starting the Genco Olive Oil Company.



The family traces its roots to 1920, when Vito Corleone assassinated Little Italy's padrone, Don Fanucci, and took over Fanucci's territory along with fellow hoodlums Genco Abbandando, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. Shortly afterward, he founded the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company as a front for his criminal activities. Around 1925, Vito formally organized the family, with Genco as his consigliere and Peter and Sal as caporegimes. They became the most powerful crime family in New York after defeating Salvatore Maranzano, a friend and ally of the late Fanucci, during the Olive Oil War in the early 1930s. It was during this time that Vito's eldest son, Sonny, made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. The family were instrumental in establishing the Commission in 1934.

The Sollozzo Plot

In 1945, a business proposition from drug kingpin Virgil Sollozzo nearly destroyed the family, hospitalising Don Vito and forcing his eldest son Sonny in action. The situation further escalated when the youngest Corleone brother Michael killed Sollozzo and his bodyguard, Captain McCluskey, forcing him to flee to Sicily. This event triggered the Five Families War. The war claimed the life of acting don Sonny, and the still weak Don Vito sued for peace with the other families, realising that his true enemy was Emilio Barzini, who was attempting to crush the Corleones and become the most powerful don in New York.

Family divides

Vito and caporegimes

Vito and his caporegimes.

After Don Vito's retirement, followed by his death from a heart attack in 1955, the family business was taken over by Michael, who exacted vengeance on the rival family's dons along with Moe Greene, Carlo Rizzi and Tessio for conspiring with the rival heads. After this, Michael moved the family to Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael was attempting to make his business legitimate, but was drawn back into crime after a failed attempt on his life by Miami gangster and old friend and business partner of the Corleone family, Hyman Roth, who was attempting to stop the takeover of Las Vegas. This action resulted in Roth's death as well as the death of Michael's older brother Fredo, who had unwittingly conspired against the Corleones.

Joey Zasa and henchmen

Joey Zasa.

After Michael made the move to Nevada, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio were allowed to form their own families. However, when Tessio's plot with Barzini to assasinate Michael was uncovered, he was killed. As a result of this, Clemenza took over the Corleone family in New York. When Clemenza died of a supposed heart attack in 1958 he was succeeded by Frank Pentangeli. At this time, the Rosato Brothers formed a rogue faction, secretely backed by Hyman Roth in an attempt to stop Michael's take-over in Las Vegas. This conflict would eventually lead to the demise of both Pentangeli and Roth.

In the years that followed, Joey Zasa was eventually given the former Corleone family territories in New York by the Commission, with Michael Corleone's approval.


By 1979, the Corleone family was almost completely legitimate. Michael sold his interests in all casinos and hotels and was trying to purchase a controlling interest in Immobiliare from the Vatican. However, Joey Zasa, who was awarded the Corleone family business in New York, conspired with aging Don Altobello, and together orchestrated an assassination attempt on Michael in Atlantic City. Shortly after, Joey Zasa was killed by Michael's nephew Vincent Mancini. In 1980, Michael appointed Vincent to be his successor as the Don and head of the Corleone family, allowing him to change his name to Vincent Corleone.

Vito Corleone's family structure (1920s-1955)

 Don Vito Corleone 

 Underboss Sonny Corleone

 Consigliere Genco Abbandando

 Consigliere Tom Hagen

 Caporegime Peter Clemenza

 Soldato Frank Pentangeli

 Soldato Bobby Altieri

 Soldato Jimmy Mancini

 Soldato Johnny LaSala

 Soldato Richie Gatto

 Soldato Carmine Rosato

 Soldato Tony Rosato

 Soldato Carmine Fucillo

 Soldato Tony DeRosa

 Soldato Paulie Gatto

 Soldato Willie Cicci

 Soldato Rocco Lampone

 Associate Carlo Rizzi

 Associate Sally Rags

 Associate Coach

 Caporegime Salvatore Tessio

 Soldato Al Hats

 Soldato Eddie Veltri

 Soldato Ken Cuisimano

 Soldato Nick Geraci

 Enforcer Luca Brasi

 Enforcer Al Neri

Michael Corleone's family structure (1955-1959)

 Don Michael Corleone 

 Underboss Fredo Corleone

 Street boss Peter Clemenza

 Consigliere Vacant/Unknown

 Caporegime Frank Pentangeli

 Soldato Bobby Altieri

 Soldato Jimmy Mancini

 Soldato Johnny LaSala

 Soldato Willie Cicci

 Soldato Carmine Rosato

 Soldato Tony Rosato

 Soldato Carmine Fucillo

 Soldato Tony DeRosa

 Soldato Ritchie Nobilio

 Soldato Joe Bono

 Caporegime Rocco Lampone

 Soldato Roberto Nelenza

 Soldato Gaetano De Luna

 Soldato Chris Penarri

 Soldato Donato Tolentinicci

 Soldato Nino Arneldi

 Soldato Victor Vinatonni

 Soldato Calogero Radeni

 Soldato Rafilo Gernzo

 Soldato Carmine Coronda

 Soldato Francis Forducci

 Soldato Ricardo Siminni

 Soldato Frank Corteale

 Soldato Ettore Radeni

 Soldato Salvatore Plumari

 Soldato Samuel Corocco

 Soldato Angelo Granelli

 Soldato Gino Corsetta

 Soldato Bartolo Neni

 Soldato Joseph Bronski

 Soldato Natale Parri

 Soldato Alphonse Barino

 Soldato Gino Fredonna

 Soldato Sabastino Sabela

 Soldato Lawrence Tippirri

 Soldato Gaetano Sirillo

 Soldato Tony Dinegio

 Soldato Carmen Della

 Soldato Frank Darra

 Soldato Alphonse Evolloni

 Soldato Peter Leone

 Soldato Cassandros Fracca

 Soldato Charles Locirno

 Soldato Cristoforo D'Binna


 Soldato Thomas Neri

 Enforcer Bussetta

 Associate Tom Hagen

 Associate Patrick Geary

Corleone family structure (1979-1980)


 Don Joey Zasa 

 Underboss Unknown

 Behind boss/Consigliere Michael Corleone

 Caporegime Anthony Squigliaro

 Enforcer Big Mike

 Enforcer Frankie

 Enforcer Anthony

 Enforcer Unnamed bodyguard

 Enforcer Vincent Mancini

 Associate Lou Pennino

 Bodyguard Joe

 Bodyguard Armand

 Bodyguard Francesco

 Associate Nicky

Historical leadership

Boss (official and acting)

Street boss (front boss)

The street boss was a title created by Michael Corleone for protected himself by the federals and government. The street boss was a front boss for Michael, that controlled the NYC activities as a real boss, but under the orders of Michael.

Underboss (official and acting)

Consigliere (official and acting)


The Bronx faction

Brooklyn faction

Manhattan faction

Michael Corleone Family

Michael Corleone faction.

Nevada faction

Sicily faction

  • 1923-1970s — "Don Tommasino" — probably retired in 1970s, murdered in 1980.

Other probably capos


Zips crew

Brasi crew


It is said that the Corleone family is inspired by the real-life Borgia family from Renaissance Italy in the late 15th century.[6]

Compared to the real Five Families the Corleone family draws comparisons to both the Genovese[7], Colombo and the Bonanno crime families.[8][9] The Brooklyn based Colombo and Bonanno families inherited a large part of the Maranzano organization. The Bonnano family later expanded their interests to other parts of the United States, notably Arizona (similar to how the Corleones expanded into Las Vegas). Las Vegas was "founded" by Genovese associate Bugsy Siegel, who has inspired the character of Moe Greene, a Corleone's associate. The founders of the Genovese family (formerly know as Morello family) were from Corleone, Sicily, as Vito Corleone. Much like Vito Corleone one time Colombo family Boss Joe Profaci was involved in the Olive Oil import business; another inspirations for Vito Corleone character were the Genovese family bosses Frank Costello, Vito Genovese and Lucky Luciano. Like the Corleone family the Profaci family was not formed until the early 20th century (with the other New York families having roots dating back to the 1800s). The internal conflict within the Bonanno dubbed the Banana war in the 1960s inspired events in The Godfather novel. The attempted assasination of Frank Pentangeli by the Rosato Brothers is based on a real life event in 1961 when Colombo (then Profaci) Family member Larry Gallo was lured to a meeting at a Brooklyn supper club where Profaci hitmen tried to strangle him. The 1955 Five Families' bosses purge is inspired by the 1950s murders accomplished mostly by the Genovese family, as Frank Costello (survived), Willie Moretti, and probably Albert Anastasia and Vincent Mangano. Connie Corleone's wedding is based on the wedding of Salvatore Bonanno to Rosalie Profaci.[10] The character of Joey Zaza, a member of the Corleone Family is also based on Joe Colombo.

Behind the scenes

Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo had envisioned The Godfather IV, which would be about the ending of the Corleone family and the death of Vincenzo Mancini-Corleone, as he lead the family into drug dealing and eventually bringing about the family's demise.


  • The real life Corleonesi became the most powerful Sicilian crime group after fighting a bloody mafia war against their rivals in the early 1980s.
  • Peter Clemenza's regime, in subsequent years, seemed to pursue criminal ventures that they wouldn't have approached when the old guard was still there. The Rosato Brothers, soldiers in Clemenza's crew who eventually formed a rogue faction, were heavily involved in narcotics and prostitution, hardly getting involved with their gambling rackets. They also had extensive dealings with black and Hispanic criminals, presumably employing them for their narcotics operations, and garnered reputations for acts of violence in Italian neighbourhoods. Joey Zasa, who took over Clemenza's old crew at some point after Ritchie Nobilio stepped down, also brought black and Hispanic criminals into his organisation and turned a blind eye to their dealing narcotics in his territory.


Notes and references

  1. The Godfather II (video game)
  2. The Godfather Part III, Francis Ford Coppola, 1990
  3. The Godfather Part IV, screenplay, Francis Ford Coppola
  4. The Godfather Returns, Mark Winegardner, 2004
  5. The Godfather (novel), Mario Puzo, 1969
  6. The Borgias - The Original Crime Family. Showtime, seen on
  7. Anthony Bruno. Fact and Fiction in The Godfather. TruTV. Retrieved on June 23, 2012.
  8. Anothony Bruno. The Bonanno Family. TruTV. Retrieved on June 23, 2012.
  9. Bonanno Crime Family Finds Wealth, Turmoil. Los Angeles Times.
  10. Capeci, Jerry (2005). The Complete Idiots Guide to the Mafia. Alpha, p. 213. ISBN 1592573053.

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